What’s the Matter With (Topeka) Kansas?


Seriously, what the hell? Via Feministing, this is one of the more disturbing stories I’ve come across. Topeka County said is couldn’t afford to prosecute domestic battery cases, so they stopped and dumped it on the city of Topeka. The city’s response is to consider “repealing the part of the code that bans domestic battery,” in order to force the county to start prosecuting them again.

I can’t decide what’s more messed up about this story–that the county stopped prosecuting these cases, that the city is considering repealing part of the code, or that domestic violence cases are misdemeanors (which is the reason the county gave for stopping the prosecutions).

At the heart of the controversy is budget cuts brought on by the unwillingness of state officials to raise taxes to fund important services, like, you know, law enforcement. I suspect that if a member of the Topeka political establishment found themselves on the bad side of a beatdown, their attacker would feel the full extent of a prosecutor’s wrath, but if you’re just an average, unconnected person whose significant other likes to go a couple of rounds on your body, you may just be out of luck.

Brian Spears is Senior Poetry Editor of The Rumpus and the author of A Witness in Exile (Louisiana Literature Press, 2011). His poem “Upon Reading That Andromeda Will One Day Devour Triangulum and Come For Us Next” was featured in Season 9 of Motion Poems. More from this author →